07.29.2011 07:08 AM

Mallick: on Breivik and online hate

…which go hand-in-hand. Worth a read.

The right-wing commentariat worry that they might end up being seen as the philosopher kings, if not the actual motivation, for Anders Breivik’s terrible crimes.

They should.

More on this in the Sun on Sunday.


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    Sean Cummings says:

    Because Heather Mallick has never been one to run on rage. She’s just a fountain of reason and geometric logic and not anything at all like those ragey types on the right.

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      Jon Powers says:

      I agree – Mallick is certainly not one to talk. She seems to believe that rage and stereotyping is perfectly okay if it comes from her. I particularly like her article in The Guardian were she states:

      “Conservatives can’t stand people, particularly if they’re female, or second-generation Canadian, or educated, or principled, or not from Alberta, which is the home of the hard-right belly-bulging middle-aged Tory male.”


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    Dave Roberts says:

    I take Mallick as seriously as I take Ezra Levant. Both are prone to theatrics, histrionics and neither have a basis in reality.

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      Warren says:

      Fine. Whatever. But there is a fair point to be made about the philosophical motivations for Breivik’s crimes. The Right makes those causal connections whenever a Left-wing loon does something terrible. Fair’s fair, etc.

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        ottawacon says:

        By her own measure, Mallick should be issuing mea culpas for Hamas

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        Jerome Bastien says:

        If right-wingers make causal connections between say, the Unabomber and Al Gore, or James Jay Lee (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/01/james-lee-discovery-chann_n_702356.html) and Al Gore, they are dead wrong to do so.

        Some topics excite passions, and some people cannot handle these passions without going bezerk. That is no reason to stop discussing important topics like the environment and islamic terrorism.

        Also, I think its relevant to point out that Mallick is the most hateful Canadian writer I’ve ever come across.

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        Sean Cummings says:

        She’s Anne Coulter of the left, Warren. Just as shrill, just as annoying. I suspect that whack jobs generally look for philosophical support of their actions from extreme minded people in the commentariat. Mallick is just another one of the usual foaming at the mouth types that reasonable people blot out of their minds.

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    Cath says:

    I agree with the other here Warren where Mallick’s concerned she’s the last one to talk about ramping up the masses based on rhetoric, BUT, I agree with you that there’s an over-arching message here. Whether Mallick’s just covering her butt….maybe, but I don’t see her or any other media accepting responsibility for unwarranted pile-on drama.

    The one line that stands out for me in her piece is this one “This is the cloud that hovers over the Internet, the rage of damaged people, especially those who comment anonymously and egg each other on.” We’ve seen it happen here and can relate on any topic.

    You in fact raised questions around the meaning of Michael Coren’s piece he wrote a few days ago. Both Coren’s points and your questions are fair game – I think he actually answered your question very generally yesterday.

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      The Doctor says:

      Before I opened up Mallick’s article, I was expecting her usual hyper-partisan, vitriolic crap. I was honestly surprised, even astonished, by her article here. If it didn’t have her name attached to it, I would have never guessed Heather Mallick wrote it. In and of itself, the linked article is a paragon of reasonableness, so I agree with WK on the article’s merits and the sentiments expressed in it.

      If this article represented a genuine turning point in Mallick’s thinking and approach to things, that would be awesome. On the other hand, if Mallick simply goes back to her ususal histrionic demonizing of anyone who disagrees with her, well then I guess this will have been an isolated “lucid interval”, as they say in mental health circles.

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    JH says:

    Anyone who would use either Mallick or Levant to make their argument actually destroys it.

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    H Holmes says:

    Insane people do insane things.

    Most people know that.

    using politics to cover this insanity, takes away from the real problems of trying to prevent this.
    Changing the discourse on politics won’t change the fact that there are insane people that want to destroy us.
    And anyway it would be nearly impossible nor good to have everyone by into a big group think love in.
    That’s my take from Orwell’s 1984.

    The most pressing question is why he wasn’t monitored before this act happened.

    Next why the police took 90 minutes to get to the island.

    Finally why the large amount of fertilizer and his online posts didn’t trigger an automatic police inspection.

    In Canada this guy would have had someone at his door long before this would have happened.
    That is the what 9-11 and the FLQ did for us, for better or worse.

    Norway didn’t learn this.

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      allegra fortissima says:

      “In Canada this guy would have had someone at his door long before this would have happened.” – Are you sure?

      “Canada’s racist leaders may face some legal difficulties, but no one believes that the threat has disappeared for good. In the past, the forces of intolerance have encountered similar inconveniences, and they have always come back. New leaders take the place of the old. They persevere, and they learn from their mistakes. Above all, they do not go away.” – Exactly!

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      Philip says:

      Anders Breivik’s murders were explicitly political. He planted bombs in Norwegian government property. Breivik slaughtered children and young adults exclusively belonging to only one Norwegian political party, a party he vilified. At the island, he dressed in the uniform of a Norwegian police man, a state public servant, to engender trust in those he then proceeded to kill. He wrote and published a manifesto to explain his actions. Breivik conducted an act of terrorism, whose ultimate goal was directly political.

      While it may be comfortable to label Breivik as insane, an anomaly, that is the easy way out. Nothing about his decade long, meticulous preparations, the execution of his plan and his actions afterward would suggest insanity. Anders Breivik was a true believer, he believed everything that people like: Steyn, Beck, Wilders and Philips wrote or spoke. He believed it all so passionately that he was compelled to act on them. Breivik isn’t alone, there will be others, in Europe, the UK and perhaps here at home who have also listen intently, believed passionately and who will see violent action as the only logical outcome of holding those beliefs.

      That is why Steyn, Beck, EDL and Wilder et. al. are shitting their collective pants right now. Some one actually listened and took their words to their logical end. You can’t repeatedly claim the demise of Western Civilization, speak of a war between civilizations and not expect someone won’t act on those claims. Words have consequences as a police chief in Arizona said not so long ago. Now Steyn, Wilders, Philips and all their fellow travelers have to deal with the consequences, in this case slaughtered Norwegian children, of their words.

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        h holmes says:

        Canada has some of the strongest monitoring laws in the world.

        They know who the crazies are.

        Obviously this is not the case in Norway.

        Your assumption that it was political and therefore not crazy misses the point.

        He was crazy, no sane person shoots kids.

        Killing free speech, because someone disagrees with you is not the answer.

        Ensuring that the guy is mature enough to understand his actions and if not monitoring and arresting them if they are not works.

        Also remember the far left have their own demons too.

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          allegra fortissima says:


          He doesn’t sound “crazy” to me…

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          Philip says:

          If Anders Breivik is actually insane, as you suggest, how can he be found mentally fit to stand trial for his crimes? You don’t get to have it both ways. Either Breivik is clinically insane and unfit to stand trial to pay for his crimes or he is not insane and was completely aware of both his actions and there consequences.

          Free speech doesn’t mean that your words carry no consequences. If your words inspire violence than you had better be prepared to carry that weight. This applies to any point on the political spectrum.

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            h holmes says:

            Timothy McVeigh was crazy.

            He was tried an executed.

            It all depends on the level and type of crazy.

            As for free speech there are and is limits.

            It is sad to me that this wasn’t prevented and hopefully the next gun loving bomb making enthusiast writing insane blog post will be stopped.

            Blaming a beck or mallick isn’t right.

            We went through this after Gifford was shot.
            Only to find out it had nothing to do with conservative talking heads.
            He was atheist and conspiracy follower. A market cornered by other left of center talking heads.

            Hopefully we are more vigilant.

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    Adam says:

    The man quoted Gandhi in his manifesto, clearly we need to ban Gandhi’s writings to prevent further atrocities and calamities.

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      Attack! says:

      Who said anything about banning except you, oh, straw-man erector?

      Mallick’s main thrust was against anonymity on the Net, which emboldens extremism, hate speech and death threats which weren’t so possible, or at least as pervasive, back in the day when people had to sign their name and get it verified in letters to the editor, where there’d be both legal repercussions and ostracization from one’s colleagues or acquaintances for the kind of routine screeds one now finds daily. (I should talk, I know, but I don’t use my name for work reasons.)

      And, say, aren’t you the same Adam who’s posted over on Scott’s site joining Coren in De Nial that this whacko is a Christian?

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        Adam says:

        Hypocrite thy name is Attack! or something like that. I completely agree with the tone of debate on the net. It is quite atrocious.

        Maybe ‘ban’ was the wrong word, demonize may be more accurate. For that, see Warren’s article in the sun.

        Yes, same Adam. The only people who honestly believe this guy was a Christian, are people that have no idea what it means to be a Christian.

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          Attack! says:

          Gee, you’d think someone with such a deep understanding of what it truly means to be a Christian might be able to invoke an apt Biblical quote to smite his enemy …rather than a bastardized Shakespearean one.

          And that someone so concerned about the correct application of terms in such a heated context would be more careful to choose the correct term (“ban”?) when attributing an argument to someone before attempting to ridicule it with a reductio ad absurdum.

          And the only ones I’ve seen being at such pains to argue this man is NOT a Christian — and who even object to ‘demonizing’ the neo-con ranters who are featured in his “Manifesto” — are the ones like you who’ve written things in the same, er, spirit as him

          (like you do in your sole blog post before now, on why it’s right for Western countries to ban veils:




          Anyway, so, fine, Breivik distances himself from the more “religious” Christiansm here:

          “If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian. Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God.”

          So he’s not an Evangelical, “Born Again,” or “fundamentalist” Christian. But relatively few Christians are (thank God).

          So does that mean that he’s not a Christian, full stop?

          Not according to him, both on his Facebook page, and there in his Manifesto: “We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian.” (p. 1307)

          So, as the self-appointed expert on Christianity, is it your view that it IS a necessary condition that one believe that one has a “personal relationship” with God?! (and, how does one distinguish that from a delusion?)

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            Adam says:

            You found my blog! (which I obviously haven’t had a lot of time to put into it). If you wish to debate me on that lonely post, likely a better forum would be the comment section of that blog, rather than this space. Thanks for the link though. I would also sincerely hope that you weren’t trying to link my year old post contrasting between the Catholic veil and the Muslim veil to the Norway killings.

            It is my belief that a Christian is someone who allows God, through the power of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Bible, and the power of the Holy Spirit, to change his or her heart. It is not my judgement call to make on who is a proper Christian or not. I merely stated my opinion that someone who commits mass murder likely hasn’t fully come to terms with Jesus. Not a very radical opinion; I think most people with an elementary knowledge of Christianity would agree with that sentiment. If you see any of this as a delusion, well, that is your right and there is not much point of discussing this further.

            Lastly, you said it yourself, “So he’s not an Evangelical, “Born Again,” or “fundamentalist” Christian.” That was my point exactly, and I thank you for conceding that so succinctly. The media characterized him as a Fundamentalist Christian Terrorist, and we both agree that he is not.

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            Attack! says:

            So, in sum, you concede that:

            (1) neither WK nor Mallick were ever calling for a “ban” on the extremists’ writing — that was just your deliberate, or perhaps clumsy, mischaracterization;

            (2) Breivik might indeed be a Christian, of sorts, even if he is not a “fundamentalist” one; since,

            (3) you are not really an authority on the true connotation or detonation of the word “Christian”;

            and yet, somehow,

            (2) is what you meant all along when you wrote that the “CBC [should] apologize/retract their statement that Breivik was a Christian terrorist”


            Guess it’s pretty easy to score if you keep moving the goalposts and revising your shots on the fly.

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            Adam says:

            So, I’m not the authority, but the CBC should be the authority on who is a Christian and who isn’t? I shudder the thought… According to official CBC policy, they shouldn’t have even called the guy a terrorist, let alone judge the condition of his soul. See:


            I’m not moving any goalposts here. Christianity played no role in him carrying out the attacks. He has/had a political aim. I’m not the one at the pearly gates that will judge this mad man on whether he is a Christian or not, I merely speculated that he wasn’t based on his horrible misdeeds. You are the one who has issue with this. Jesus says in the Bible, answering the question of which are the greatest commandments, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

            You seem quite adamant in insisting he is a Christian. I wonder why?

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            Attack! says:

            First, that’s a misreading of the implications of the CBC ombudsman report, which, while agreeing that its journos are discouraged from throwing around the “terrorist” word in breaking stories, says, “there is no ban in place… use common sense”; and by your own admission, it meets their working def. (“terrorism generally implies attacks against unarmed civilians for political, religious or some other ideological reason”); plus it cites the other major news groups policy of using the word when quoting others, which is what the CBC was doing, when it noted that the NY Times was describing him as a fund. Xian terr’st.

            Second, you seem to be deliberately avoiding the fact that his “political” agenda in trying to start up a new Knights of the Templar movement and attendant Crusade in Europe IS inexorably tied up with his ‘Cultural Christianity’: he wants to drive out the Muslim, and purify and protect the Christian influences in Norway and surrounding countries.

            And, because I care about both justice and prevention, I’m being adamant that it’s important to understand those motivations, not only in the prosecution of these crimes, but also to push back against those hateful influences to try to make people more critical of the neo-cons spurring such people and more vigilant about recognizing the signs of people about to go postal like this.

            You, meanwhile, seem more interested in distancing yourself from, than in doing anything constructive about the problem.

            Which comes down to loving thy reputation more than thy neighbour, oh, good Christian.

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            Adam says:

            Good luck in your noble fight against the “neocons” good soldier.

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    Justin says:

    It looks like the lawyers at the Star will be busy, it has a disclaimer at the top about a legal complaint from Philips herself. That was fast!

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    Africon says:

    An absurd reach Warren. There a millions of people who read on-line crap ( extreme left or right ) or watch porn and only a tiny fraction of those huge numbers act out in any kind of violent way as a result.
    There has always been and always will be those who can and do easily join a lynch mob or a riot in Toronto or Vancouver or anywhere else.

    People like mallick should have the good sense to know when to shut up.

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      Philip says:

      Africon says:
      July 29, 2011 at 11:27 pm
      “People like mallick should have the good sense to know when to shut up.” Or what?

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      Attack! says:

      What a bizarre post, Africon.

      First, it’s not “absurd” to point out that this act of terrorism seems to have been largely influenced if not directly motivated by the extremist writings of certain writers; another columnist at the other major To.-based Cndn daily also makes the same case here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/norway-shows-we-must-expose-dangerous-fictions/article2114680/

      Second, it’s pretty appalling to advance the same type of cost-benefit argument that the Ford Motor Co’s bean-counters’ used on the Pintos (whose gas tanks could explode in rear end collisions, which they knew about and could have prevented with, like, an extra $5 part, but didn’t bother cuz they calculated the odd lawsuit would cost less): “Meh, it doesn’t happen often enough to worry about, to warrant the nec. modifications.”

      Third, you don’t even make sense when you then invoke the mob mentality of sports riots, which is not only a completely different issue than this lone gunman / mad bomber scenario, but would also tend to undermine your first point even if it WERE relevant (ulp, you mean, there might be a rash of copycat killings of socialists and multiculturalists now? but we should “shut up” about it, cuz its just human nature?)

      Fourth, yes, as Philip suggests, there’s sure an undercurrent of implicit threat in your own mutterings.

      It’s gonna be a pretty wild west thread after WK’s column comes out tomorrow.

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    Africon says:

    Attack, I no more agree with Ford’s logic than you do – I was talking about the fact that a very small percentage of people in every society appear to be easily motivated to violence against buildings and property or against people ( yes different issues, same stats, same issue ie easily influenced ) the common thing in all of this as I see it, is that they are easily moved to extreme actions. Ford’s actions were motivated by greed and not germane to this discussion.

    Of course, we should talk about this assumed RESULT of extremists writings ( could it not just as easily be the reality of the growing number of immigrants in Norway ) – a very different thing from what mallick and others of her ilk ( from the left or the right ) do which is to provoke that tiny majority to violence in some cases.

    There was no threat to malick, implied or otherwise just that she should realize that her kind of extremism is not productive and may FOR SOME result in violence just as extremism by any writer on either the left or the right may do likewise. This is a time for moderates and cooler heads and not extremists like malick who does not even try to be moderate and should just shut up, imo and do a little more reflecting.

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      Attack! says:

      Huh? But what extremism did she engage in (as opposed to allude to) in this particular article?! Did you even read it? Her counsel was “could we all please be kinder to each other and try to make the online world less of a stinking swamp” — and THAT’s what appears to be getting some of your backs up. Making YOU part of the problem, not (just, allegedly) her.

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        Africon says:

        Geez, Attack why do I have to spell out every little detail for you?
        Malick is hardly a “moderate and kind” writer [in general] not in her recent article which I did read and found to be hypocritical given her usual writing style.

        My back is up about ALL extremist, on-line writers as I have stated several times and yet you willfully choose to ignore that.
        Either you are just plain dumb or simply want to be argumentative for reasons unknown.

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          Attack! says:

          uh, huh. Sure, sure: you’re opposed to online extremism in all its forms. And I’m the thick and/or argumentative one.

          That’s why you say this woman should just “shut up” rather than dare descry extremist writings, given her history?


          So, what would you have written in response to WK if he’d selected one of several other columnist making very similar points about the destructive influences OF Breivik’s influences,

          like: Thomas Hegghammer, senior research fellow at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment in Oslo and the co-author of “Al-Qaida in Its Own Words.”


          Or Doug Saunders, the chief of the Globe and Mail’s London-based European Bureau,


          Or many others. That they should all, um, “shut up” (nah, nah, nah . . . I can’t hear you!!), too, ‘cuz somehow, somewhere, they must have espoused something, um, extremely to your disliking, before this? Yeah, you’re a real paragon of reason.

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    JH says:

    I miss namesake!

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